After 21 Years of Reform, Here’s Opinion of UNAIR History Lecturer

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UNAIR NEWS – Every May 21, Indonesian people are always reminded of the day of reform. Exactly this month, Indonesia’s reform happened 21 years ago.

A lecturer of Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR) from History Program Faculty of Humanities (FIB), Arya Wanda Wirayuda, S. Hum., MA had his say on the reflection of 21 years of reform. Exactly on May 21, 2019, the moment of reform is a day before the announcement of the 2019 presidential election final result.

Arya said that the implementation of reform has progressed. It is proven from the upheld values of democracy. The 2019 presidential election is one example that can be a reflection of the 21 years of reform.

The advanced indicator from this reform is the participation of the community to take part in the election. Reflecting on the previous election, the implementation of the 2019 election was quite good. There were some shortcomings, but it can be anticipated by the law.

“The announcement of the election result on May 22 is a day after the historic day of reform,” he said. “Through history science spectacle, the moment reminds us of a new era in implementing democracy in 1998,” he added.

The reform commemorated in May reminded activists during the regime change and it gives a new spirit to be better than before.

The reform happened not only caused by political problems. It also happened due to a monetary crisis from 1996 to 1998 that hit globally. It also affected Indonesia.
“Reform emerged not only due to political factors, but we can reflect on it through economic perspective,” he said.

Arya also added that the economic downturn had changed society’s order. The soaring price caused conflicts, such as store lootings in 1998.

There were also violations of human rights, especially on the right to express opinions. The birth of reform was inseparable from activists and critics’ movements at that time.
“Many activists or critics stopped their steps by the New Order government because they were too meddling in government affairs,” he said.

Arya added that restrictions on expressions in democracies were slightly tarnished. Through the persistence of these activists, the idea of reform was born to create a healthier democracy.

Students were the driving force of the reform struggle. Students representing educated people were able to express their opinions and ideas to the government.

After 21 years of reform, new enthusiasm in terms of caring for the country is expected. The students should be the milestones in a better state of change. This heated democratic situation hopefully makes us recall Indonesia’s change in the past and unite us. (*)

Author: Aditya Novrian
Editor: Binti Q. Masruroh

This post is also available in: Indonesian

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